This fight was a rematch with the girl I fought for my 15th fight and who beat me. I must admit, I was nervous for this fight – before I knew who I was fighting – and had hot jelly legs a little bit for a few hours before we got to the venue. I think it was a combination of excitement and the pressure I feel at wanting to display skills I know I have, rather than just go and flow. Flowing is good, but it’s not always pretty.
This fight was for Master K’s 74th birthday, which was the day before on the 19th. I thought about him A LOT during my Wai Kru/Ram Muay and I think it’s the best I’ve ever done it.
I found out this was a rematch maybe 30 minutes before the fight. Den sat down next to me and asked, “do you know your opponent?” I said “no” and he explained she was the second girl who beat me at Kalare. As I was standing in the ring and he was talking to me before the fight he said, “Win or lose doesn’t matter. I just need you to kick here,” pointing to his body, “and then I know you get better.” Just kick the body, just kick the body…
I remembered that this girl hates punches and I knew she was going to run from me. Closing the distance to land body kicks is something I’ve been working on for about three weeks now, but it’s tricky to execute it in the context of a fight in contrast to bagwork or padwork, and my sparring is limited. But I knew that I could get there if I hopped in, so I was determined to try that. She wouldn’t look at me at all before the fight and I could feel her energy draining in each round. Between the second and third round Den and Taywin both told me to stop walling her knees in the clinch and start kneeing back, swimming for the inside up top. That’s ultimately what did it and I won by KO, knee to the head. Best feeling in the world is stepping out of the ring and seeing your coaches beaming and grinning because you did what they asked of you.
This was the first fight that I could feel myself affecting my opponent as it was happening. In the next I’ll be able to capitalize on it better, faster. This was the first fight when I KNEW it was a KO as it was happening. And this is the first fight that I admitted to myself (and to Kevin) beforehand that I was a little scared and very nervous, but once I got moving in the ring I felt confident that I would win. Things are changing.
Finally, this was my 3rd KO in a row, which achieves a goal that Master K set as a challenge to all his Suriya Sak team: whoever gets three knockouts in a row wins the Suriya Sak belt, the belt of his team over the years. I wanted to win this fight for Master K, for his birthday and to make him proud. He sent me a picture of the belt and said I’ve accomplished it – my first belt.